Ferriday seeking grants for YMCA, youth center

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 18, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Alex Promise, administrative assistant for the Town of Ferriday, is seeking grants to establish a recreation and education center for youth at the old Florida Street Gym.

Town officials want to house a YMCA and a community center in the building. The latter would host educational programs, such as tutoring, and cultural events, such as concerts, said Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin.

&uot;If we’re going to talk about getting kids off the streets, we’ve got to give them somewhere to go,&uot;&160;McGlothin said.

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As of Monday afternoon, town officials were still negotiating with the Concordia Parish School District, which now owns the gym, to lease the building to the town. The building is in relatively good shape, but the air conditioning system would need to be replaced, McGlothin added.

Carol Dooley, director of support and extension services for the YMCA’s Atlanta field office, confirmed that Ferriday officials had requested information about establishing a YMCA branch.

&uot;Now, the next step will be to seek funding to establish (a Y branch),&uot;&160;Promise said.

The Alexandria, La.-based Rapides Foundation has grants available for activities designed to break up gangs and curb youth crime and teen pregnancy.

Promise said the town intends to apply for such grants in the near future to help establish the center but does not yet know the amount of money that is available.

The next step toward establishing a YMCA branch in Ferriday would be for town leaders to get in touch with Bob McNair of Meridian, the region’s YMCA national field consultant.

&uot;If Mr. McNair determines that the community could support a Y, he would offer technical advice and information to help them get started,&uot; Dooley said.

The branch would be given permission to use the YMCA name and logo for a provisional period of up to two years, with its progress being reviewed every six months to one year, she added.

A Boys and Girls Club is already located at the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Substation just outside Ferriday. Recreation District No. 1 also sponsors recreation programs in the area during the summer.

The purpose of the Ferriday center would not be to compete with such programs, said McGlothin and Promise.

&uot;It’s just that the Recreation District covers Ferriday as well as surrounding towns like Clayton and Ridgecrest,&uot;&160;McGlothin said. &uot;They’re spread thin, and we want to do anything we can to help them out.&uot;

&uot;And this (Ferriday center) would be something different, something that would be open year-round for the youth,&uot;&160;Promise added.

Representatives of the Town of Ferriday and the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region will also negotiate as soon as possible for the town to lease the Ferriday Kindergarten Center, Macon Ridge President Buddy Spillers said Monday.

Since kindergarten and pre-K programs in Ferriday are being moved to Ferriday Lower Elementary, the kindergarten center will be empty starting this school year.

The building could be used to house a single industry or could be the site of a business incubator – a complex that houses and supports brand-new businesses until they are successful enough to branch out on their own.

&uot;Hopefully, we’ll meet with the School Board this week,&uot;&160;Spillers said.

The building has a kitchen that would make it an ideal location for a day care center as well as other businesses. Some wiring work may need to be done, but the facility is otherwise in good shape, Spillers said.

In the School Board’s July 11 meeting, Chip Rogers of Macon Ridge said a telecommunications company is interested in locating at the site.